Honoring the best in the Lake area from the 2020 fall season

The Lake area has reached the finish line for fall sports. Thankfully, most programs got to see that finish line in a fall season unlike any other. 

This school year began with plenty of uncertainty in the midst of an ongoing pandemic and sports were no exception as athletes and coaches had to go through quarantine protocols while some games were cancelled entirely with no chance to make up for that lost time. That is one reason why it is just as important as ever to continue a Lake Sun tradition with our superlatives that recognize those who made the most recent season one to remember. 

It certainly feels long overdue with no spring sports to recognize after they were cancelled in mid-March when COVID-19 came to the Lake area. Without further ado, here are the athletes, coaches and teams who have made our list for the fall season.  

TOP ATHLETES

Camdenton senior Cooper Ezard, Football  

Camdenton senior Cooper Ezard earned All-State honors as a junior, leading the Lakers with 80 receptions for 1,031 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns in 2019. He decided that a single 1,000-yard season was not enough when he surpassed some of those totals in his final season as a Laker. The senior led the receiving corps once again, racking up 109 receptions for 1,283 yards and 15 scores this time around and he finished the year with 100-plus receiving yards in six of the team’s 11 games. That kind of consistency helped the Lakers reach the district semifinals and it just may lead Ezard to a second straight season of earning a spot on the All-State team. 

Eldon senior Kassidy Hull, Golf 

The resume was already fairly extensive for Eldon senior Kassidy Hull as she entered her final season as a Mustang on the links and the final campaign did not disappoint either. After reaching state as a freshman, Hull wrapped up her career with three straight individual conference titles, a pair of district titles and three straight All-State finishes by finishing in the top 15 of the state tournament. The senior steadily improved, finishing seventh in the state as a sophomore and third as a junior before earning a fourth place finish this fall. That kind of resume also allowed the senior to be one of six golfers invited to represent Missouri in the Junior Girls Four State Championship against Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska and the opportunity to play in the National Invitational at Pinehurst in North Carolina earlier this summer. 

TOP TEAMS

Camdenton Volleyball 

Camdenton hosted Senior Night festivities for its season opener, unsure of what the future would bring in the midst of a pandemic. They probably would have accepted nearly reaching the Final Four. The Lakers won their first district title since 2008 and finished 26-6-3 on the season before bowing out in the state quarterfinals. Camdenton made the trek up to Hannibal for the state playoffs and became the team that simply refused to go away, overcoming a 2-0 deficit to knock off Lutheran St. Charles in five sets in sectionals before nearly coming back from a 2-1 deficit in the quarterfinals against Parkway West in another game that took all five sets. Playing 10 sets before elimination is usually only possible with a team effort and that is precisely what the Lakers displayed, being a single point away on two occasions from the first Final Four in school history. 

Osage Boys Cross Country 

There may be some reason for excitement about the future of cross country at School of the Osage. The Osage boys finished second as a team in both the conference meet at Eldon and districts at Hermitage. By being one of the top two teams at districts, the Indians earned the right to compete at the Class 3 state meet as a team and the best part of all may be the fact that they did it with mostly freshmen and sophomores with just one senior on the team. Senior John Markowitz led the pack at state, earning a medal and All-State recognition, and time will tell what the future holds with sophomores Jaysen Groll, Caden Wyrick and Caleb Klaus and freshmen Jaysen Groll, Colin Misenheimer and Jansen Gamm returning with state experience. 

TOP COACHES 

Melinda Wrye-Washington, Eldon Volleyball 

It did not take success very long to find Melinda Wrye-Washington at Eldon. Leading her alma mater in just her second season in charge of the Mustangs, the team went 24-6-1 this fall with the program’s first district championship since 1998 before bowing out to state semifinalist Springfield Catholic in sectionals. There was a stretch towards the end of the year where the team won 23 straight sets in the middle of an 11-game winning streak and players have pointed to the practices led by the coach as being key to their success. Wrye-Washington said she has been striving for a culture change at her alma mater and 2020 may have been a significant step in that direction for the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame coach who won nearly 700 games and a pair of national titles over 18 years in her previous stop at Columbia College. 

Sarah VanBebber, Camdenton Boys Swimming 

Reaching the state meet is not a bad way to start a coaching career for a sport that was relatively unfamiliar not long before that. That is precisely what Sarah VanBebber accomplished this fall in her first season leading Laker swimmers. She joined the program as an assistant under former Head Coach Anna Leezer a season ago when she was presented the opportunity and the coach who had a softball background committed to learning all she could about the sport, reading books and watching videos. After taking the reigns, it seems the program did not skip a beat as Camdenton reached state in two individual events and three relay events with eight Lakers getting to swim amongst the best Class 1 swimmers in the state. There has also been steady improvement with the team finishing 34th in 2018, 21st in 2019 and 18th this fall with VanBebber in charge. 

HONORABLE MENTION ATHLETES

Eldon freshman Zoe Martonfi, Cross Country

Making history as a freshman is a pretty good way to enter the high school ranks. After winning a district title, Eldon senior Zoe Martonfi became the first female in school history to medal at a state meet when she finished seventh in the Class 3 race amongst a field of 153 runners with a time of 19:42.6. 

Eldon freshman Nathan Reynolds, Cross Country 

Eldon freshman Nathan Reynolds earned his spot among the top Class 3 runners in the state by finishing 19th in the final show of the year with a time of 17:07.6. Time will tell how much further he can climb up the proverbial state ladder. 

Versailles junior Maris Ollison, Softball 

Versailles junior Maris Ollison beat up a few softballs this fall for the Tigers. She finished the season hitting .571 with 16 home runs and 37 RBIs in 27 games, striking out only four times in 77 at-bats. Her efforts earned her a sport on the Class 3 All-State First Team. 

Camdenton senior Gavin Schulte, Swimming  

Back in the pool for his final campaign in the pool for the Lakers, Camdenton senior Gavin Schulte medaled at state for a third straight season and picked up his fourth career state medal overall when he finished third in the 50 freestyle at 31.72 seconds. Not a bad legacy for the first All-State swimmer in school history. 

Osage senior Lily Davis, Tennis 

Osage senior Lily Davis decided to follow in the footsteps of her older sister, Elise. Davis finished eighth in the Class 1 state singles tournament to earn a medal and All-State honors and joined older sister and 2020 graduate Kylie Misenheimer who accomplished the feat in doubles play two years prior.

Osage senior John Markowitz, Osage Cross Country 

Osage senior John Markowitz was among the best Class 3 runners in the state, finishing 18th in the final meet in a field of 162 runners with a time of 17:05.7. Not a bad ending for the final race of a high school career. 

Eldon junior Caroline Beckmann, Volleyball 

Eldon junior Caroline Beckmann spent plenty of time above the net and made her mark on the stat sheet night in and night out. In 90 sets the senior led the district champion Mustangs with 516 kills and 54 blocks while posting 49 service aces, 263 digs and seven assists. She earned a spot on the Class 3 All-State team for her efforts. 

Osage junior Brockton McLaughlin, Football 

Osage senior quarterback Brockton McLaughlin did plenty to make the chains move for the Indians in 2020 as he led his team both in the air and on the ground. He completed 65 percent of his passes for 1,652 passing yards and 17 touchdowns against just 10 interceptions while leading the team in rushing with 1,213 yards and 16 touchdowns, averaging 10.6 yards per carry. 

HONORABLE MENTION TEAMS

Osage Girls Cross Country 

The Osage girls set a new benchmark for the program in 2020. Winning a district championship is nothing new for the Indians, but this team also finished seventh amongst 15 Class 3 schools at state for the highest team finish in program history. 

Osage Boys Soccer 

Osage may not have reached the district championship game like it had a season ago, but the program did finish with a winning record for the second straight season going 11-8. The Indians scored 48 goals overall, allowed 30 and won nine of 11 games down the stretch before dropping the season finale and district opener against a pair of teams that are a combined 32-10 on the season.

Camdenton seniors Haley Hultz and Victoria Watson, Tennis 

The Camdenton girls were back at state for the first time in at least 20 years, thanks to seniors Haley Hultz and Victoria Watson. The doubles duo won a district championship to punch their ticket to the Class 2 State Tournament against 15 of the best teams in the state. 

Macks Creek and Climax Springs Cross Country 

There may be a bright future for the cross country programs at Macks Creek and Climax Springs. Among the six runners who competed at the Class 1 state meet, five will be returning and three were underclassmen with plenty of miles left to go before their careers come to an end. 

HONORABLE MENTION COACHES 

Jason Ollison, Versailles Softball 

A turnaround has taken place at Versailles. Under Head Coach Jason Ollison, the team finished 16-11 on the season, winning a district game and advancing to the district semifinals before bowing out to district champion Blair Oaks. Not bad for a program that won just a single game three years ago.  

Travis Squire, Osage Girls Golf 

There can be some uncertainty when a new coach comes in to take over a program. It did not seem to be a problem for Coach Travis Squire who led a trio of Indians to the Class 2 State Tournament. The future may be bright, too, as freshmen Hannah Maschhoff and Sophia Sindlinger medaled and earned All-State recognition, placing 10th and 11th, respectively.